Seneca Foods Contact: Jeffrey Van Riper, Controller(315-926-8100)
SYLVANIA, Ohio, Sept. 16, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- John D. "Jack" Leppert passed away Monday, September 14 th at the Sunset Village Retirement Community in Sylvania, Ohio. He was 93 years old. A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/a3a21076-09bb-4d37-a066-bfb16066a281 Jack was born on October 11, 1921 in Saginaw, Michigan. He left home at the age of 16 and attended General Motors Engineering School in Freemont, Michigan until January 1942 when he enlisted in the Army Air Force. He also married Marilyn Koeppen in January 1942 and would remain married for the next 69 years until her passing in 2011. During World War II he was assigned to the 491 st Bombardment Group in the 8 th Air Force in Pickenham, England as a navigator on B24J Liberator heavy bombers. During his service, he performed many missions and earned numerous honors and medals earning promotion to the rank of Major. He remained active in the Air Force and the Air Force reserves until his retirement from the armed forces in 1972. He worked for several food companies during his career including President of Vlasic Foods in Lathrop Village, Michigan, President of Continental Coffee Company in Detroit, Michigan and President of Clark and Lewis Foodservice Distributors in Miami, Florida. From 1976 - 1986, he was President of the S.S. Pierce Company, Woburn and Peabody, Massachusetts, a division of Seneca Foods Corporation. Under his 10 years of leadership, the company grew from sales of $18 million per year to well over $400 million to become the largest foodservice distributor in New England. He retired shortly after S.S. Pierce was sold to Kraft Foodservice in 1986. After retirement, he did consulting work for several years and was active in several World War II fraternal organizations. In 1992, he edited and published "The Ringmasters - History of the 491 st Bombardment Group" which offered a detailed history of experiences in WWII and received high praise from historians. Jack is survived by five children, Karen Foster (Caleb Glass) Hockessin, Delaware; Kathy Stone (Bill), Sylvania, Ohio; Patricia Leppert, Palm Harbor, Florida; David Leppert (Sharon) Plano, Texas, and Richard Leppert (Elizabeth) of Canandaigua, New York; six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.